HUNDREDS of young competitors, visitors and even stallholders linked arms around the famous pavillion in a massive display of solidarity and peace at Llangolen International Eisteddfod yesterday morning.

The Sound of Silence has become a favourite feature of the festival and sees children from every nation competing in the singing and dancing sections joining hands around the main performance area to send a message of peace and harmony to the world.

Last year, despite hundreds of youngsters joining in, they did not quite manage to completely encircle the pavilion, but yesterday every available person was mustered to ensure the link-up was achieved.

Following the symbolic exercise, everyone who had joined the circle observed one minute’s silence to demonstrate their commitment to international understanding.
Later in the day, the Eisteddfod’s day president, Alex Pascal, founder of London’s Notting Hill Carnival and a human rights campaigner, introduced a musical presentation in the pavillion featuring pupils from two school in Llangollen, Ysgol Bryn Collen and Ysgol Cymraeg y Gwernant. They took to the stage alongside the
Maria Fidelis Convent School Gospel Choir from London.

Mr Pascal recalled that soon after arriving in Britain from his native Carribean, one of the first people he befriended was a man from Wales named Gwyn Jones.
He joked how he later realised he was not the only man with that name in the

Mr Pascal also told the audience of the affinity he felt with the River Dee because, unlike the Thames, it had stones like the rivers he knew back home.

He said: "Wales has a lot to offer and whenever Wales calls me I'll be back."

The children from the two Llangollen schools then joined in two rousing songs led by Mr Pascal entitled Row Boatman Row and Saturday Night, which had the audience clapping and singing along and also getting to their feet to join in with the actions.

Yesterday's evening concert featured the classical violin group, Bond.